Article: Small, spirited rally kicks off Occupy Napa Valley College

By Sarah Rohrs, Times-Herald

Though small, a rally Wednesday to kick off Occupy Napa Valley College drew several passionate speakers decrying cuts to higher education, and a perceived widening gap between the rich and the poor.
Starting today, students and others in support of Occupy Napa Valley College will set up a four-day encampment in an overflow parking lot on the Napa campus.
The group will also stage a Saturday rally and march with Napa labor, political and religious organizations.
"We support Occupy Wall Street," student speaker Julio Soriano said, referring to the two-month old movement in New York City protesting a concentration of power and financial resources in 1 percent of the population, including banks, wealthy and special interest groups.
"We are the 99 percent," Soriano said. "We are workers funding this country and the rest of the world."
Students, in particular, protested fee hikes, cut classes, and also pledged support for the downtown Occupy Napa protests.
The noon Saturday march will focus on Napa State Hospital employees and their struggle with budget cuts, staff layoffs and other working conditions.
The University of California at Berkeley and University of California at Davis are sites of other student-led occupy protests.
Green Party presidential contender Jill Stein of Boston gave a lengthy speech stressing cuts to colleges hurt the future of the country. She also briefly outlined her platform.
"This is 'Ground Zero' for our economy and future of the planet," Stein said. "This represents a true uprising of Democracy and justice."
Associated Students of Napa Valley leader Alex Shantz said the group had been working with college administrators so the protest would go smoothly.
The encampment will not result in increased police presence and will be outfitted with Port-a-potties and other facilities, Director of Public Relations Betty Malmgren said